Present for Bradbury
Oldham RL Club's capture of young players from Super League continued today with the signing of former St Helens centre Jack Bradbury.
His one-year Roughyeds contract was a belated present because the former Saddleworth Rangers junior celebrated his 20th birthday only last Thursday.
He becomes Oldham's fifth new signing of the off-season and the third to arrive at Whitebank straight from a rugby league apprenticeship at the highest level.
Prop Liam Gilchrist (21) came from St Helens; back-row man Ben Wood, also 21, signed from Salford City Reds; now Bradbury follows Gilchrist from Saints, having spent four years learning his trade at one of the biggest clubs in the land.
He left Saddleworth at the age of 16 to join Saints on a three-year professional contract and when that expired he was offered a new one-year deal to go full time. It was a measure of the regard in which he was held at Knowsley Road that he was quickly promoted to the senior squad.
Ultimately, his dream of breaking through into the big time ended in disappointment, but he is determined to be back in Super League with another club before he is much older.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were interested, but instead of moving to Yorkshire he has decided to put himself in the shop window with his hometown club.
Said Roughyeds team boss Tony Benson: "I've been monitoring Jack since the end of last season when I got a tip from Saints that he would be available.
"He was being courted by other Super League clubs, but at this stage of his development as a player he decided we could offer him the better pathway to where he wants to go.
"He harboured the dream at Saints, but sometimes matters are taken out of your hands. They have been going overseas for centres in recent times and that made it extremely tough for a young bloke like Jack to break through.
"He will be a great addition to the Oldham squad and I am absolutely certain that he has what it takes to eventually get back into Super League.
"In the meantime we will be doing all we can do at the Roughyeds to progress him as a player and to help him to fulfil his Super League ambitions."
Bradbury joins an ever-growing band of Oldham-born players at the Whitebank Stadium, many of whom have been connected to Super League clubs in the past such as Danny Whitmore, Alistair Williams, Michael Diveney, Ben Wood and Matthew Fogarty.
"I was disappointed in how it all ended for me at Saints," he said, "but I have to move on and I am looking forward to the experience of playing for my hometown team.
"I'm hoping to get back into Super League, but in the meantime I will be doing the very best I can for Oldham in the hope that I can help them to win promotion."
Having been a full-time pro at St Helens for the past 12 months, Bradbury is looking for a job in sport or leisure, disciplines he studied at college during the three years he was on part-time duties at Knowsley Road.